I will make you become fishers of men.
Mark 1:1-28 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “Behold, I send My messenger
ahead of You, Who will prepare Your way;
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight.’”
4 John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. 6 John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey. 7 And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. 8 I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; 11 and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”
12 Immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. 13 And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.
14 Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
16 As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 19 Going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets. 20 Immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went away to follow Him.
21 They went into Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and began to teach. 22 They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23 Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24 saying, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” 25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” 26 Throwing him into convulsions, the unclean spirit cried out with a loud voice and came out of him. 27 They were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” 28 Immediately the news about Him spread everywhere into all the surrounding district of Galilee.
John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins…Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” What was the common theme in the message of John and the message of Jesus? The answer of course is repentance. One should ask then, if repentance was integral both to the message of John, of whom Jesus said: "Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist!” and to the message of Jesus Himself, why is it that so many today no longer preach a message of repentance? Is it that we have become afraid that we will offend people or drive them away from the church? Paul warns Timothy that these days will come. In 2 Timothy 4:2-4, he says: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. Just because the world will not endure sound doctrine, just because talk of sin and repentance will offend them, does not mean that we should stray or vary the message that Jesus spoke from the beginning. Paul says we should preach the word, reprove, rebuke, exhort with great patience and instruction. In 2 Timothy 3:16 he says: All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. All scripture is critical; far too often today, people want to pick out only the scriptures which are appealing to them, the ones which fit their own doctrine. It is important that when we teach and instruct we use all scripture, the entire word of God, so that we know His sound doctrine. Even the law which we are no longer subject to because of Christ, is not to be disregarded, rather it is to be interpreted through Christ, who Himself fulfilled the law. (see Matthew 5:17-20)
As Jesus began His ministry, He also began calling those who would be His closest disciples. In the text it says: As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” It is interesting that Jesus would use that analogy, that they would be fishers of men. There is a notion today, that Jesus would prefer to associate with sinners, outcasts and the undesirables of society rather than the church. People will use the accounts of Jesus, in His day doing that, fellowshipping and eating with tax collectors, prostitutes and other outcasts and sinners. What they miss though is what Jesus reason and motive for being with them was. It was not that Jesus preferred the lifestyle of sin. Jesus says: “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32) This is not to say that all who are in the church are righteous and those who are not in the church are sinners, but rather it is to indicate what Jesus motive was and is: to call sinners to repentance! If we would be like Jesus disciples, if we would become fishers of men, it is true that the best bait we can use is kindness, compassion, acceptance, love and service. But in the end we fail Jesus and the world, if we do not recognize that our goal is to capture them for the kingdom, calling them to repentance and the cross of Christ.
At the end of today’s text it says: They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” Throwing him into convulsions, the unclean spirit cried out with a loud voice and came out of him. They were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” Jesus called sinners to repentance. That which was evil, He had no tolerance for, He rebuked and cast it out with authority. Evil recognized the authority of Jesus. That same authority, Jesus has given to us. In Matthew 16:18-19 Jesus says: “upon this rock (the revelation that Jesus is the Christ) I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” Like Jesus, we need to have no tolerance of that which is evil, whether on earth in the physical realm or in the spiritual, heavenly realm. We need, by the authority we have in Christ, to rebuke evil; to cast it out, to bind it and to loose the goodness of the kingdom of heaven here on earth.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit many today say that it is cliché to say that we would love the sinner but hate sin. Yet as we read all scripture, Your whole word it seems that is exactly what we are to do. So in the name of Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit in me, may I live to be a fisher of men. May my life have the attractiveness of love, compassion, mercy and grace, but may I through Your word, point them to the cross, that they would be captured for the kingdom and in the authority I have in Christ, may I rebuke and cast out that which is evil. Amen.